Fixture: Stan Wawrinka vs Lorenzo Musetti
Date: 15 September 2020
Tournament: Italian Open 2020
Round: First round (Round of 64)
Venue: Rome, Italy
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €3,465,045
Match timing: 8.30 pm CEST, 12 am IST
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Stan Wawrinka vs Lorenzo Musetti preview
Stan Wawrinka is set to make his return to the ATP tour with a first-round encounter against qualifier Lorenzo Musetti at the Rome Masters on Tuesday.
It has been a long road back for the three-time Grand Slam champion to the summit of men's tennis. But after strong quarterfinal showings at Roland Garros and the US Open last year, as well as the Australian Open this year, the Swiss player has returned to the top 20.
In 2020 itself, Wawrinka finished in the semifinals at Doha and the quarterfinals at Acapulco before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The Swiss player then opted out of any exhibition tennis, and also refused to travel to the United States for the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open.
Instead, Wawrinka has participated in claycourt Challenger events in Prague to tune up for the European clay swing. He even lifted his first Challenger trophy in nearly a decade before bowing out of the quarterfinals of the next event due to a thigh muscle injury.
Wawrinka's opponent in the first round is 18-year-old home favorite Lorenzo Musetti. The youngster who has only recently debuted on the senior ATP Tour, having playing in just one recognized main draw match so far - at Doha earlier this year.
Musetti comes into the first round on the back of three convincing wins in the qualifiers.
Stan Wawrinka vs Lorenzo Musetti head-to-head
The meeting in Rome is the first match ever between Stan Wawrinka and Lorenzo Musetti on the ATP tour, so the head-to-head stands at 0-0 between the two players.
Wawrinka is ranked 15th in the world rankings, while Musetti is ranked 249th, his highest on the tour.
Stan Wawrinka vs Lorenzo Musetti prediction
Given Stan Wawrinka's superior experience and success on the ATP tour, it is difficult to see anything but a win for the Swiss player over Lorenzo Musetti. The thigh injury he sustained in Prague, however, could come into play - not just in today's match, but in the rest of the tournament as well.
Musetti was a well-known player on the junior circuit, having even reached the World No. 1 ranking and won the junior Australian Open title. Clay, however, is not known to be his best service; Rome will be his first appearance in the main draw of a claycourt tournament on tour.
Wawrinka's strong serve, powerful baseline game and proven ability on slower surfaces like clay were all on display in Prague. And if he remains fit, he should brush away the Italian teenager without much trouble.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka to win in straight sets.Published 15 Sep 2020, 00:40 IST